I need help/suggestions for my spring trip to Southern Spain/Portugal.
Hello, I am traveling to Europe in mid february and looking for advice. I will arrive in Ireland and stay there for a weekend with a friend then fly out on Monday February 21 to either Spain or Portugal. I will have two weeks to get to Cadiz, Spain where I have reservations for Carnival and then after Cadiz I will have another week to get to Amsterdam where I fly back home and go back to work 😞 I am looking for suggestions on where to go. I want to mainly stay in Andalusia but wouldn\'t mind spending a couple of days in Portugal and maybe visiting a city(brussels? Paris?) in mainland Europe on my way to Amsterdam. My main decision now is where to fly from Ireland. My main interest in traveling is meeting people and experiencing their culture. I love small villages that do not have a lot of tourism. I speak enough spanish to get by (reservations, train schedules, etc) but not enough to have a meaningful conversation. I am traveling alone, in off season (february and March). I will mostly stay at hostels in order to meet fellow travelers. So, I guess my question is where are the best places to travel in Andulasia and the Algarve that will have fellow travelers for me to meet and explore with but are not touristy. If I wanted 20 story resorts on the beach I could stay in my own country. I have many interests. I love museums, nature, music but mainly I want to experience the Spanish people and there way of life. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hello, Myles. I travelled in Andalusia in October 2009 and really enjoyed Sevilla. I believe that Ryan Air flies there. Porto, in the North of Portugal is another option for flying in before moving south into the Algarve and Andalusia. Although I never went I have heard excellent reviews about Grenada. I don't know if these cities would qualify as "not touristy" due to their size but at the same time they are not chalked full of tourists, like Venice. If you go to Sevilla I recommend staying in the Oasis Hostel but before booking I would check if construction is still happening at the nearby square. Hope this helps a bit. Adios
Hey Miles - my husband and I just returned from three weeks in Andalusia and Portugal. I posted the blog link in case you want to look through it. We flew into Sevilla and ended there and LOVED the city. Vibrant, beautiful, clean. It was great. We stayed at the Don Pedro which in January is about 50 Euros a night (Sevilla was the most expensive place on the itinerary). We rented a car through Hispacar (a rental broker we found online) who found us a car through Aurigacrown and it was dirt cheap, they didn't care if we crossed borders, etc. On the Portuguese coast we stayed in Burgau (tiny, very not touristy in the off-season), walked from there to Luz, visited Sagres and Lagos. It was all great. Sagres has more of a surfer town vibe; it and Lagos were way more happening than sleepy Burgau but we liked coming 'home' to a quiet beach town. Traveling in January really helped take the edge off of touristy feel - we felt totally immersed in a different culture the whole trip. We too have slightly functional Spanish and it was very useful as many of the people in southern Spain don't speak any English - you'll be glad to have basic communication skills. Their lisp took a while to get used to as we usually hear and practice more of a central/south American Spanish! Feel free to message me if you have any questions as the trip is still fresh in my mind. You're going to have a great time! Cheers
I would consider a visit to Brussels. The Grand Place is a really beautiful destination (I took about 100 pictures there!) Also, you can buy lots of waffles and chocolate to indulge your sweet tooth! At least I did...
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I am getting so excited in anticipation. Just two weeks before I take off. I'll be flying from Belfast to Faro, Portugal where I'll take a train or bus to Lagos. I booked a room there for three days. I figure it's a good base and I've heard lot's of good things plus the photos I've seen of that part of Portugal are absolutely divine. From there I will have about a week to get to Cadiz for Carnival. I'm not going to plan anything in stone until I get there, I want to leave some room for chance encounters, fate, or whatever. I defiantly plan on spending some time in Sevilla, it seems like my kind of place. I don't know if I will go there before or after Carnival, I will leave that to the wind. After Carnival I will have another week to get to amsterdam. I'll probably spend another couple of days in Spain then maybe fly to brussels or Paris and from there take a train to Amsterdam. I would really love to go to Belgium but I don't see me eating a lot of waffles. They just don't go good with Beer, and if I go to Belgium I'm gonna drink a lot of beer. After spending two weeks in Spain and Portugal I'll probably be pretty sick of wine. >Alisa, I'm curious about your car rental. I did some research and found some pretty good rates but they want you to return the car empty and charge you for using a full tank regardless of how much gas you actually use. To me, this is a scam and I don't like doing business with companies that purposely defraud you. Was this your experience or did you have a normal rental like here in the states where you fill up the tank before you return it. I might be knit picking here but I hate being ripped off. I enjoyed your blog by the way, lots of good info. I can't wait to have some of those experiences myself. I don't blog however, the best anyone is gonna get from me is a couple of Facebook posts. Thanks again for the info. As always before I travel, I am soaking up as much info as I can but once I'm there my trip will take on a life of its own. I wouldn't have it any other way. Cheers Myles
Madrid is one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. If you're into culture, it has some spectacular museums including El Prado and La Reina Sofia. And Retiro Park is a must!
[Edited: 2012 Aug 27 08:27 - Rat on the Road:23681 - No URLs in signatures please]
Hi...we are séniors, living in Panama who want to travel a round Spain freely for a few months. Can you give us some details about the car you rented through Hispacar? Charges, model, year, etc.? Thanks. Mike & Yadira Eberhard (Panama) <snip>
[Edited: 2013 Jan 03 09:50 - Jo Trouble:16935 - Email address removed - contact via private message.]